What it is: A diet that mimics what cavemen ate, specifically lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots and nuts. The regimen eschews such products as cereals, dairy products, salt and processed fat and sugar.
Why it works: According to a
2005 issue of Scandinavian Journal of Food and Nutrition, “the underlying rationale is that foods that were available during the evolution of primates, up to the emergence of fully modern humans, are healthier than recently introduced ones (dairy products, cereals, beans, refined fat, sugar, etc.), since our digestive and metabolic systems were not designed for the latter group of foods.”
What the experts say: The trickiest part about a Paleolithic diet is that there doesn’t seem to be a uniform interpretation of what it actually entails, explains Saint Louis University researcher Edward Weiss. Raw red meat, for example, is a staple for some Paleolithic dieters but is most likely to lead someone to the emergency room. Still, experts laud this regimen for its emphasis on whole intact fruits and vegetables, a component required in all variations of the diet.